Insta-Thoughts

{thoughts shared on Instagram that are too long to leave just as a comment on a photo in a monthly round-up, but too short for their own post}

27 October clamming 8
these two were what kept me afloat during the worst of PPD. Ezra to relieve physical burdens as best as he was able and to hold out hope and truth when I could not look Up for myself. S was my sunshine and laughter every day.
It has been fun to see their relationship grow in the last months. When Ellie was born S was a total mommy’s girl, and while she still goes to me first, she loves following Papa around the yard and goofing around with him (meanwhile Ellie gets mopey whenever Ezra is at work… papa has been her favorite from the beginning). Today, inspired by last weeks’ thousand readings of One Morning in Maine, we went clamming for the first time! Ezra had his heart set on trying, and it looks like clam chowder tomorrow night as we were successful!

28 October clam chowder 1
I’m positive it said 25lbs of flour when I ordered it, not 25lbs of wheat berries… And then one friend’s 20+ year old electric mill died on us so an arm workout it is. Despite it being a mostly good, quiet week, I feel very worn out from it and am looking forward to a day of rest tomorrow, and trying to be better about taking quiet moments each day to fill my own soul – which means not wasting those moments on social media or introspection about why I feel grumpy but instead looking to Jesus.

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Last night her knee hurt and she woke up wimpering at 9:10 PM. We brought her out for some medicine, leg rubs, and snuggles, and as we sat on the couch with her resting her head on my chest I remembered all those days 3 years ago when she practically lived on my chest for four months. We told her about that, and it made her smile.

She is always seesawing between wanting to be a baby and wanting to be a grown-up. I sometimes get frustrated when she asks me to do things she can easily do herself, like put on her boots. But I think she just wants to know I’m still there for her (well, probably some Ellie-jealousy, too, but even then she is often looking for reassurance). That even though she doesn’t get mommy milk any more (as of September), and even though she’s not a baby, and even though she can feed herself, put on her own coat and shoes, she wants me to do those things for her to make sure I’m still there for her. (That doesn’t mean she always gets it, especially as her view is definitely skewed and she only sees the things Ellie gets that she doesn’t instead of seeing all that she gets to do that Ellie doesn’t – but I try not to get upset about it because I think most often she just wants to be that little baby that needs her mommy so completely again).

10 December 1
One thing I have been told over and over while pregnant or breastfeeding is that I should go ahead and eat more or eat treats without reserve. While I do need to eat more than I would while not nursing, I’ve fallen prey to letting that lead me into overindulging and cravings that go beyond “I want” into “I need,” something I am really focusing on overcoming right now (the biggest help was a quote I shared in my review of 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You on my blog). Yes, I do need to eat more than “usual” at this stage in life. Yes, I do eat healthily 90% of the time. Yes, while I do have a few pounds I’d like to lose I don’t need to worry about my weight.
But that doesn’t mean it’s always ok for me to go back for seconds or eat as much dessert as I want, because while my body may be fine with it, that doesn’t mean my heart is.
All that to say… if someone tells you no thank you, don’t try to make excuses for them.
P.S. This pavlova was AMAZING. Thankful for a husband that’s also adventurous in the kitchen (and much more patient shaping meringue than I am!). And thankful for a church family that helps us eat the desserts we make.

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Thankful…


…for my mother-in-love coming to stay with the girls so we could get away just us for the first time since having kids.
…for Ezra doing almost all the planning so I could really just relax and enjoy without feeling like I had a must-do list.
…for getting to try all the food at Pike Place Market I always wanted to try but we had always packed a lunch so never got to.
…for the easy, happy first year of marriage.
…for the two hard years in the middle.
…for this fourth year of growing and reconnecting.
…for the laughter the girls bring to us.
…for the ways parenting brings us closer together.
…for all the adventures we’ve had, from our back yard to Mexico to Japan, chosen and unchosen.
…for our hopes and dreams
…for all the times he does the dishes, prays with and for me, rescues me from stress or botched recipes, supports me through PPD, surprises me, gently points out my sin, and is patient with all my fallings short.
…for anniversaries and all the other celebrations we get to have.

“The LORD has done great things for us and we are glad.”

December

Quick note: Today’s our anniversary! 🙂 I’m thankful for how God has worked so much in both of us and in our marriage in the last year. More probably coming later as we are actually able to really do something for it this year!

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One of our Advent activities. My post-Advent thoughts: these 25 things helped S a lot with having things to do and counting down, and the community service-type ones were actually rather challenging for me, but made me realize how easy it is to carry around a grocery bag to put trash in when we see it, and how little I talk to people I see on the street, in the store, etc. – but how simple and rewarding it is to do so.

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Recording for 25 Days of Christmas. This was the first time I had really tried to do a multitrack. I had kind of done one before, on Audacity, but that wasn’t working this time, so I learned how to use the recorder we bought a few years ago and never used to its full capacity. I got not only better sound quality but was able to really get it all together. It was fairly simple and SO MUCH FUN. I miss playing in ensembles so playing with tracks of myself playing gave some of the fullness of sound even though it wasn’t quite as nice.

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Ezra was away for a few days, but we stayed busy painting, walking, Christmas music dance parties, playing, and as a special treat we went out for lunch.
His time away was productive on his end and encouraging for me – a year ago, 4 days alone with the girls was unthinkable, yet here we were having fun and doing more than just surviving.

7 December 2

8 December Kombucha explosion
We had a kombucha explosion…

10 December 1
Christmas is my excuse to actually bake and eat “real” desserts. 😉 I’ve noticed that sugar really does affect me and I feel much better when I avoid it but we couldn’t resist the challenge of this pavlova – and it wasn’t really that challenging, which was a pleasant surprise!

4 December bread and figurine 1
I made my baguettes too long.

12 December Christmas baking 2
The rest of our Christmas baking. Gingerbread is my favorite!

15 December 1
A fuzzy shot of someone’s light display.

24 December Christmas Eve 3
Came out of the morning Christmas Eve service to find this! The evening candlelight service was cancelled because of ice.

25 December Christmas at Dunns 7
Christmas morning kisses and pancakes.

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Stuffing her face with peanuts and oranges. I love how much they love being given “all you can eat” food. 😉

25 December Christmas at Dunns 16
Wearing her playsilk and using her new crayons.

25 December Christmas at Dunns 19
Traditional Christmas lunch at Ezra’s family’s house.

26 December Huffmans 1
26 December Huffmans 3
Boxing Day beauty!

26 December Huffmans 9
… and ugly sweater cookie decorating.
We stopped in with my extended family on the way home, and got to see my sister’s family again too!

29 December 7
And then we had our own family Christmas a few days later.

31 December New Years Eve 1
I was reading World Magazine’s News of the Year issue and feeling overwhelmed by how much tragedy there was, then looked up and saw this hanging on the tree.
The weary world rejoices.
Because weary I certainly am of this dark and fallen world… But rejoicing that One came who brings life and light and healing. (Ornament by @heart2artcrafts)

For New Years’ Eve we hosted a somewhat impromptu game night with most of our church and actually did stay up until midnight for the first time since before S was born (the girls went to bed at their usual time and had no idea of the festivities going on since we put white noise on for them!).

Hymns of the month// Joy to the World // reviewing all the old ones

favorite recipes// sourdough baguettes // cranberry pomegranate pavlova (minus the mascarpone)// pumpkin custard (AKA how we used up 6 yolks, though I used milk and sweetened it with banana to make it lighter) // chicken & gnocchi soup // flourless chocolate cake // gingerbread dutch baby // butter chicken //

best of online//  updated our Advent post // Lutheran Mass for Christmas Morning // recording a multitrack on Zoom H4N // BB Warfield, Imitating the Incarnation // Coventry Carol again // a new podcast I love // Fantasia Chromatica // Victory over ISIS – Now What? // the problem with holly jolly Christmas songs // 12 Days of Writing // 110 Tolkien Drawings // Spurgeon’s 15 Tips for a Deep and Effective Prayer life // best science images of 2017 // 9 Things about Christmas Traditions // 5 Misconceptions about the Christmas STory // A Case for Marrying Later // 5 Lessons Learned from Counseling Anxiety // 9 Questions to Ask Yourself for 2018 //

reading of late// Teaching from Rest // Between the Woods & the Water // Parenting // God’s Prayer Book // When Postpartum packs a punch // 3 Years in Afghanistan // Spiritual Depression // The Secret Garden // MacDonald’s Christmas Stories // Skimmed Educating the Whole-Hearted Child

Some quotes:
“I never lost my body. It just went through something incredible and changed, and I’m not going to punish it for that via workouts or words.” from Whole Food Diary.

“Worry and fear say that the world is threatening and that you are alone. But when the kingdom of heaven pierces the earth, God is establishing his control in a new way. Now that the King has come, you will never be alone.”
— Ed Welch, Running Scared

“It is here at the first Christmas that the most profound and unfathomable depths of the Christian revelation lie. In the manger, we find not only the Savior of the world, but also the Creator of the universe, God with us— Immanuel. The One who put the stars in the sky lay beneath them in the form of a helpless baby, entering time and space not to let us know He exists, but to draw near to us and invite us into His everlasting kingdom.” Alastair Begg, Christmas Letter

“You possess everything when you have Christ.
In your weakness you have his strength. In the midst of fear, you have the confidence of his unchanging character. In the unknowns you have the God of all wisdom who lights your path. In your exhaustion you have the faithful One who will cause you to mount on wings as an eagle. In your desperation you have the Living Water who quenches your thirst and satisfies your longings. In your grief you have the One who was acquainted with grief and stricken with sorrow.” from here

what brings joy// friends on our journey // peppermint whoopie pies // hearing everyone’s breathing falling asleep // waking up all together // rocking chairs // Csehy benediction at Christmas // lovely gifts: Bread Book, warm gloves, Prone to Wander book, Before You Now CD, chocolates, Benediction Gracelaced cards, Ellie’s pillow, play silks.

Top Reads of 2017

In all this year I read 71 books… which is a lot, likely too much. I’ve been convicted a lot of how often I close the book and move on to the next one without really processing and applying it… so am trying to slow down and think through things. But my books-to-read list keeps growing! I have to remind myself frequently of Ecclesiastes 12’s comments about “of making many books there is no end and much study is weariness to the flesh,” and the challenge of Psalm 1, Psalm 19, and Psalm 119 to delight in and meditate on His Word above all other writing!
These are some of the books that help with that, and/or were ones I kept thinking back to.

Life-changing
None Like Him (Jen Wilkin) and Humble Roots (Hannah Anderson)
These are very similar so I put them together here. They both opened my eyes to see how much I try to be God, especially in the area of control.
None Like Him had a discussion questions that were really helpful, and is a look at eleven attributes of God that He does not share with humans (immutability, omniscience, etc.).
Humble Roots didn’t impact me as much as I read it, but afterwards I kept being convicted by it. Its focus was more on how there is rest in humility (which often comes down to not trying to be God!) and is more practical than None Like Him, but I felt like to focused more on the problems than the answer – None Like Him brought me to worship more.

12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You (Tony Reinke)
Reviewed here.

Spurgeon’s Sorrows (Zack Eswine)
A biblical, practical look at depression (in a small book!), looking at causes, helps, theology… it gave validity to a lot of my feelings and questions after PPD that had often felt heretical.

Spiritual Depression (Martyn Lloyd-Jones)
Another biblical, practical look at depression, but one that focuses more on the spiritual causes of it. It felt less pertinent to PPD, since it was more on spiritual roots of depression than physical ones with spiritual manifestations, but it was still incredibly helpful and one I will refer back to often. It was also really convicting in areas of sin that for me haven’t led to full-on depression but may affect my mood for a short time, things like discontentment, pride, etc. One very helpful thing in the discussion of contentment was the idea that to be content we have to be independent of our circumstances, not relying on anything but God for our joy (a “duh” moment but still much needed!).

Parenting (Tripp)
A big-picture parenting strategy, helping me see what my role as a parent really is. There is lots of repetition, but in a good way if reading it slowly, because there is SO much good it’s overwhelming.
Some key points:
I am more like my children than unlike.
I am His ambassador, showing them what is in their hearts and pointing them to Him for repentance and change. Redirecting their worship!
Clearer than Give them Grace that this does NOT mean suspending the law.
“Parenting is not just about getting your children to do something, but helping them to see so that they would desire to do it.”
“What right now does God want my child to see that he is not now seeing and how can I help him see it?”
“If your eyes ever see and your ears ever hear the sin, weakness, and failure of your children, it is never a hassle, never an interruption, never an accident; it is always grace. God loves your children and has put them in a family of faith, and he will reveal the need of their hearts to you so that you can be his tool of rescue and transformation.”

“This book has been an elaborate discussion of one thing: God’s call to you to be an essential part of his mission of rescue of the children he has given you. But it has not been just about the mission that he has sent you on, but also about the fact that he has gone with you. He doesn’t ask you to do what you can’t do, and he is eternally willing to do what only he can do. So he blesses you with his presence, power, wisdom, and grace. He faithfully parents you, so that by his faithful grace you can faithfully parent your children. In every moment of parenting, the wise heavenly Father is working on everybody in the room. You are blessed to be chosen to go on the mission of missions,a nd you are blessed with his grace so that every day your parenting would be dyed with the most powerful force of change in the universe: mercy.”

Highly recommend: 
These are either fiction or ones that were very good but weren’t quite as directly applicable to me this year.
Messy Grace (Kaltenbach)
A pastor whose parents are homosexual writes about loving them and the LGBT+ community without compromising conviction.

Symphony for City of the Dead
Not a life-changing book, but it was fascinating and has really stuck with me throughout the year, and caused me to fall in love with Shostakovich’s 7th.

Holy Labor (Aubri Smith)
Reviewed here.

The Hawk and the Dove (Wilcock)

Music Through the Eyes of Faith (Best)
This is not something I am currently wrestling with, but his discussion of what kinds of music may or may not be acceptable for Christians was the most theological, logical, biblical thing I have ever read on the subject.

Runners up:
Preemptive Love
Dispatches from the Front
The Cup and the Glory

Kids’ book authors we went back to again and again:
Ezra Jack Keats
Robert McCloskey
Patricia Polacco
Dianna Aston

What we Read: 4th Quarter 2017

(Look for a top books of 2017 post soon!)

October
The Lifegiving Table (Sally Clarkson)
While this book was good, it wasn’t as good as I had hoped. There was lots of repeat from podcasts and other books, and lots of anecdotes. But I say that as someone having grown up with family meals around the table and thus know how important they are – so the content wasn’t anything new to me. I was still encouraged that daily mealtimes MATTER, even now, and what a gift to my kids those mealtimes are. Good reminders about the importance of fun and phatic communication. It also helped me see too how refreshing it is for me to be in someone else’s home for a meal and not to take that for granted.

The Hawk & The Dove (Penelope Wilcock)
One of few books I read purely for enjoyment this year, and I intend to read more of the series. I couldn’t figure out what exactly drew me in but the characters and writing style were both so vibrant and I couldn’t wait to pick it up every evening.

Humble Roots (Hannah Anderson)
The summary: I am not God, and when I try to be it leads to lack of rest & burn-out. When I first read this book I thought it was good, but while there were parts that I noted and thought about more, I didn’t connect with it deeply… but then it kept coming back to me again and again.

12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You (Tony Reinke)
reviewed here.

Preemptive Love(Jeremy Courtney)
The story behind how Preemptive Love Coalition got started. I couldn’t put this one down. The story is riveting, and it felt like an answer to what was left unanswered in They Say We Are Infidels – what do we do? How is there change? How can we as outsiders help others love their enemies?

The Cup & The Glory (Greg Harris [not the homeschool Greg Harris])
This book would have been better read slowly, but I made a lot of notes to look back over later. I wish I had had it in the midst of PPD; it might have helped me see more clearly what was going on. It’s basically a biblical perspective on suffering, but in a way that felt much more tangible and less dry.

finished The Hidden Smile of God (Piper) with Ezra
This is one of Piper’s biographical books, looking at Bunyan, Brainerd, and Cowper. We were encouraged by all of their lives.

November
Gilead (Robinson)
I’m still not entirely sure why I finished this book. It wasn’t bad; I was just never really drawn in and it didn’t hold my attention that well. There were a few profound moments but a lot of it dragged.

Sanctification (Powlison)
The back of the book summarizes it well: “Scripture portrays the dynamics of sanctification in a rich variety of ways. No single factor, truth, or protocol can capture why and how a person is changed into the image of Christ… shows personal and particular ways that God meets you where you are to produce change. He highlights a variety of factors that work together, helping us to avoid sweeping generalizations and pat answers in the search for a key to sanctification.”
His comments on giving “unbalanced” specific counsel and really connecting dots for counselees was very helpful to me, both in my own conversations with people, but also in realizing why some counsel I received for PPD was very helpful and other counsel didn’t help at all.

The God I Love (Joni)
Reviewed more here. It’s fascinating reading biography as an adult with kids, wondering what will greatly impact them and what struggles they will have.

P.G. Wodehouse Anthology (excerpts)
This was my light Thanksgiving read, and very enjoyable.

Different (Nathan & Sally Clarkson)
Good encouragement for loving kids even when they’re hard – even when my kids are not truly ‘different’ they are still very different from me (as I was and definitely as I am now!). Helped me have more compassion to understand their limitations and how they see the world differently, and to give love and affirmation even in difficult moments, remembering their worth goes beyond our expectations and societal norms.
That said, if you had a truly different child I don’t know how helpful it would be beyond encouragement to keep loving them. There wasn’t much I thought was practical in how to help them, and it often felt like they were just putting up with his disorders rather than seeking to help him change (loving your kid no matter what is different than affirming their obsessions, which is often what I felt was happening).

December
Teaching From Rest (Sarah Mackenzie)
Good overall message – a philosophy of restful schooling, focusing on what matters and not trying to be God, but knowing what to let go of and Who our standard is. It was good now, but probably need it more in midst of homeschooling, than I do right now. I don’t agree with all her theology, but that plays a minor role in the book.
It tied in well with Humble Roots; in some ways it was Humble Roots applied to homeschooling.

Between the Woods and the Water (Patrick Leigh Fermor)
The second part of Fermor’s writings about his journey on foot from Holland to Constantinople. This was mostly Eastern Europe, so fascinating to me as I’ve never been there, but also a little overwhelming because I didn’t have any familiarity with the area and its history.

When Postpartum Packs a Punch (Cowan)
This book was yet another piece in the PPD puzzle. It didn’t give new insights into healing, like I was expecting. Instead, it gave a clearer diagnosis that helped some things fall into place. It gave validity to some of the things I had been feeling, and the sense of sorrow and grief I often feel looking back. It also gave hope to me for if it comes again – reminders of PPD being a where you are not a who you are, and that while it may have spiritual manifestations, it is a treatable disease, and that while it was really bad after Ellie, it could have been way worse.
I felt like Cowan could have fleshed out more on what helps heal/how those things help, but for a book detailing the variety of PMADs (postpartum mood and anxiety disorders) and what those look like, definitely look into When Postpartum Packs a Punch
She is a believer, and talks about “faith” a lot but doesn’t flesh that out much.

Three Years in Afghanistan (Matthew Collins)
Recommended by WORLD Mag in their beach reads issue, this is the story of a family’s time in Afghanistan working with an NGO. It was really fascinating, although his writing style wasn’t my favorite.

The Secret Garden
I know I read this as a child, but couldn’t remember it well, and Ezra’s parents have a beautifully illustrated version that I enjoyed very much.

Spiritual Depression (Martyn Lloyd-Jones)
His sermons on depression, arranged topically by cause, each chapter focusing on a certain passage of scripture and applying that to the cause.
Some of the causes mentioned: high view of self, low view of self (both misunderstanding gospel), regrets from past sin, fear of future, emotions, lack of faith, looking at the waves (focusing on the trials instead of on Christ), false teaching, bondage to sin or the law, weariness in well-doing, discipline, trials, chastening, exercise/difficulties that help us grow, worry, discontent.
It was very useful as a whole, but also in counseling to give someone ONE chapter to read instead of a whole book! Very down-to-earth, no-nonsense, succinct, biblical.

George MacDonald’s Christmas Stories
Found in a box of Christmas books at Ezra’s family’s house. There wasn’t really anything that really stuck out to me, but I enjoyed reading them.

skimmed Educating the Whole-Hearted Child.
Draws a lot from other books by the Clarksons. Overwhelmingly detailed and comprehensive (down to manners and organization), in some ways more of their notes on how they did things. More of a curriculum than a homeschooling philosophy, so to me it came across as somewhat legalistic, but that may just have been because it wasn’t what I was expecting.

Finally finished (read all year)
God’s Prayer Book (Ben Patterson)
I went through the Psalms this year and enjoyed his commentary and the further reflection and prayer this book brought.

Parenting (Paul Tripp)
This book gets repetitive, so it’s not one to read all at once, but we read about a chapter a month this year and found it really, really helpful. It’s not very practical, but it did help me with connecting behaviors to the heart, and having a proper perspective on what my job as a parent is. We highly recommend it.

In the middle of Neptune’s inferno as our current car-read, and Because He Loves Me (Elyse Fitzpatrick) with my sister.

Kids:
Island Boy (Cooney)
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
Paddington (Bond)
Meet the Orchestra
Farm Anatomy (Rothman)
The Bee Tree (Polacco)
The Great Gracie Chase (Rylant)
10 Little Fingers, 10 Little Toes
Gingerbread for Liberty
West Coast Wild
The Apple Pie Tree
James Heriot’s Treasury for Children
Fujikawa’s A Child’s Book of Poems
Baby Jesus Prince of Peace Greene
Wee Gillis
Yoko’s Paper Cranes
Dianna Aston “A Seed is Silent”
Eight Animals on the Town (Susan Middleton Elya)
Christmas in the Barn (Margaret Wise Brown)
How My Parents Learned to Eat
Apt 3 (Keats)
There is a Carrot in My Ear
The Thinks You Can Think (Seuss)
Mrs. Katz and Tush (Polacco)
Ginger and Petunia (Polacco)
Pancakes for Findus (Nordqvist)

movies
Loving
Hidden Figures
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

We also watched Silence, which was very difficult to watch, not so much because of the violence but because of the theological questions it brought up.

Words for 2017

As I look back on the last twelve months, three words seem to summarize the year for me – how I grew, what I learned, what characterized the year, how I will remember 2017. Much of the year I felt overwhelmed (in a good way) by things I was learning and ways I was growing, but most of that really does boil down to these three things.

HEALING.
2016 ended with us in transit and fighting PPD. I knew there was a lot that needed to change – so much that I didn’t want to put any sort of time frame on it, so I never said “2017 will be a year of healing” because I knew that it could be much longer than a year before I felt whole again.
But God not only healed the PPD but also so much more as He worked in me as a wife and mother, and brought to light sin that needed to be worked through and emotions from the last four years that I had swept aside instead of processing – mostly to do with all of our moves and the sadness of saying goodbye to so many people and communities in such a short time.
A lot of this healing came through prayer, the Psalms, and replacing lies with the Truth.

REST.
This started as rest connected with healing – clearing the schedule to simplify life and leave breathing room for lack of stress and to spend more time together now that Ezra’s schedule gives him more time off.  I had to learn first that having nothing to do is OK – I often found myself puttering around trying to find things to do instead of picking up a book or playing with the girls because having more to do than I was able had become so habitual after Ellie was born.
At the same time, I’m now a lot better about sensing that there is too much on my to-do list and being willing to drop things or let them take longer – loving my children is more important than being on time or getting everything done, and better a late dinner in love than on time with biting words. I realized a lot of ideals from myself or society that I was focusing on instead of what my job as wife and mommy are according to God.

But it was also realizing that rest isn’t the same as an empty schedule, but is relinquishing control and letting God be God – resting from worrying about things, over-planning, micro-managing, etc.  – and so there can be rest even when the calendar is full.
This came up again and again in books I was reading – mostly Humble Roots and None Like Him, but also Teaching From Rest and Parenting (Tripp) – resting not in the successes or abilities of me or my children but in the One who sent me, admitting how often I try to be God despite not being omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, etc, not worrying about how things will work out in the future but trusting God and being faithful now.

FAITH.
“Looking to Jesus” has been on my mind since before Ellie was born, but it came up again and again as I was memorizing Hebrews 12, doing the Behold  Your God study, and reading various books and kept connecting what I was struggling with to a solution of looking to God for satisfaction.
But before that could happen God had to work in my heart to bring me to trust Him again after a season of depression where it often seemed like He was turning away from my cries. Joni’s story helped much with that – faith not in my ability to accept PPD but to embrace Christ because of my problems – and a quote from Tripp’s Parenting book: “Biblical faith never asks you to deny reality, it calls you to look at your realities through the lens of the awesome glory and grace of your Redeemer.”

Then I was able to begin to learn what it talks about in 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You:
“As faithful eyes perceive the unseen glories of God and reborn hearts embrace them, all the visible glories of God in the world seem to thicken in substance. The more eagerly we embrace God, the more gratitude we express for His created gifts for us and the more clearly we begin to discern the sinful distortions and the hollow promises of free sin.”
– Tony Reinke (page 140)

Faith, looking not at the seen of social media’s pull, daily trials, fears of future PPD, but instead looking to Jesus, my Savior.

I suppose in the end all 3 things come down to letting God be God and not trying to do His job myself, but rejoice and rest in His care and power.

Saying those words characterized 2017 doesn’t mean that I have those things down, far from it! I expect 2018 will be a continuation of those three things and growth in many other areas as well.

On a more practical note, 2017 introduced me to crafting with felt, transformed my bread-baking (Thanks Laurel’s Kitchen and Peter Reinhart), and included 11 Ferling etudes and doing music for church twice a month.

Savory Pumpkin Pie

We turned Ezra’s butternut apple soup into a pie after telling S that the soup was like eating pie for dinner.
We just made it a second time and I meant to get pictures… but even though I covered the crust it still burned pretty badly so it is not very picture-worthy!

1 can pumpkin (or 1.5 cups of pureed orange winter squash)
2 eggs
1/2 c cream (or milk in a pinch)
1 baked apple (or 1/2 c more pumpkin)
dash cayenne
1/8 tsp paprika
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp sage
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cloves

Bake 425 for 55 minutes in a 9″ pie crust.

To make it more of a meal, we’ve put sausage and caramelized onions on the bottom and then poured the filling over it. This takes a lot longer to bake, though!